The South African Police Service has confirmed the conviction of an abalone (perlemoen) syndicate in Cape Town.
The four men, Abri Filipe Bucchianeri (30), Cecil George Kruger (63), Sean Kruger (32) and Busobenkosi Matera (34), have been charged with racketeering, money laundering, fraud and several contraventions of the Marine Living Resources Act.
“The quartet, through Virdon Trading CC, an entity allegedly registered in 2010 and licenced to export fresh produce, participated in unlawful activities that involved intricate planning and continuous looting, storing, and exporting of abalone overseas,” says Captain Lloyd Ramovha.
The syndicate was brought down after a bust in Vredenberg, which saw a whopping seven tonnes of abalone being seized, worth approximately R20-million.
Three Chinese nationals have also been imprisoned as a result of their involvement in the operation.
“This is a welcome boost to our endeavours in fighting crime and it resonates with our resolve to paralyze the criminal business systems,” says Western Cape Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Major General Nombuso Khoza.
“We hope this verdict dissuades those who still plan to plunder our marine resources from continuing to do so.”